March 1, 2022
Contact: Yonah Zeitz – 347-201-2768 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow online: #LessIsMoreNY • www.lessismoreny.org
Today: Next Phase of Less Is More Parole Reform Act
Takes Effect, Bolstering Due Process and Ending Automatic Detention for Noncriminal Technical Violations
Coalition Issues Status Report on Implementation—Progress Thus Far Includes Almost 1,500 People Released From Incarceration
Albany, NY – Today, the next phase of the Less Is More Act takes effect, bolstering due process for people on parole and ending automatic detention for alleged noncriminal technical violations. As Less Is More moves into its second phase of implementation, the #LessIsMoreNY campaign published a new report today, outlining the progress to date and the essential steps ahead so that the law lives up to its intent. The report highlights the reform’s early successes, challenges with implementation so far, and recommendations to Governor Kathy Hochul and the state legislature.
The New York State Legislature passed the Less Is More Act in June 2021, and it was signed into law by the governor on September 17. This transformative parole reform legislation restricts the use of incarceration for noncriminal technical parole violations, bolsters due process for people accused of parole violations, requires parole revocation hearings take place within a specified time and in the community, and provides earned-time credits for parole. The Less Is More Act is widely considered the most significant parole reform in the country to date.
More than 31,000 people are on parole in New York State. Until September 2021, New York held the distinction of imprisoning more people than any other state for noncriminal “technical violations” of parole rules—like missing an appointment with a parole officer, being late for curfew, or testing positive for alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. The entire process is marked by systemic racism, with Black and Latinx people much more likely to be re-incarcerated for these infractions than their white counterparts.
The #LessIsMoreNY coalition introduced the Less Is More Act in 2018 to address these problems. The coalition consists of more than 300 organizations, along with district attorneys, sheriffs, and former correctional officials. Its passage represents a major step forward in the fight to end mass incarceration, advance racial equity, and strengthen public safety in New York. Less Is More will do the following:
- Restrict the use of incarceration for noncriminal technical violations of parole.
- Eliminate automatic detention. Rather than being automatically detained in local jails, people accused of a noncriminal technical violation will be issued a written notice of violation with a date to appear. Someone on parole who is accused of a new criminal offense has a recognizance hearing in a local court before being detained and is released on their own recognizance (ROR), unless doing so wouldn’t reasonably assure their appearance at future hearings.
- Bolster due process, including requiring faster hearings. When someone is accused of violating the conditions of their parole, a hearing is provided within 35 days if they are detained and 55 days if they are not (instead of taking up to 105 days). Hearings take place in courthouses and other community settings rather than in jails, as they had prior to Less Is More. The law establishes increased standards of proof at each stage of the violation process and a guaranteed right to counsel.
- Provide earned-time credits: Most people will be eligible to earn a 30-day reduction in their community supervision through “earned-time credits” for every 30-day period in which they do not violate a condition of their parole.
The Less Is More Act has already had an effect in the fight for justice: nearly 1,500 people have been released from jails and prisons across the state since it was signed into law. Under the new law, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) must use community-based interventions rather than incarceration to address challenges in the reentry process. Automatic pretrial detention, for both technical and non-technical violations is also eliminated under Less Is More.
As of today, most of the transformative provisions of the Less Is More Act have gone into effect. The remaining provisions—the recalculation of time assessments (sanctions of incarceration) and the earned-time credits provisions— will take effect in the late summer and early fall. All of these provisions must be effectively implemented to truly transform the state’s parole system. DOCCS and the Office of Court Administration must swiftly put in place all of the measures necessary so this long-overdue reform succeeds. The new report released by the #LessIsMoreNY coalition today includes specific recommendations for effective and full implementation.
Fully enacted, the new law will put New York at the forefront of shifting parole from being overly punitive to being supportive and focusing on making reentry effective and keeping communities safe.
Statements from bill sponsors, impacted people, and community and advocacy groups from the #LessIsMoreNY Coalition:
Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest, Prime Bill Sponsor, said: “I’m so proud today to see major provisions of our Less Is More Act go into effect. After spending years as one of the states with the most punitive parole systems in the country, New York will today become a leader in sensible criminal legal policy. But to follow through on that promise, the Governor should also pursue steps to immediately implement all provisions of the bill, and ensure that no one is held in prison when the law says they ought not be.”
Senator Julia Salazar, Chair of Committee on Crime Victims, Crime, and Corrections, said: “New York imprisons more people for non-criminal ‘technical’ violations of parole than any state in the country. With most provisions of the Less Is More Act going into effect today, this will no longer be the case. The Less Is More Act will allow thousands of New Yorkers to live their lives without continuously falling into the cycle of injustice that is re-incarceration through our parole system. Incarceration, particularly for non-criminal technical violations, not only harms individuals and their families but leaves a long-term, negative impact on entire communities. We celebrate the Governor’s leadership in signing this bill into law and now call on her administration to fully and effectively implement this transformative parole reform.”
Assemblyman David Weprin, Chair of Committee on Correction, said: “For far too long, people who are on parole have lived in fear that a technical violation, like being late for curfew, would send them back to prison. We all know that life happens. Anyone who lives in New York is aware that subways and buses can run late and cause a missed deadline. A non-criminal technical parole violation should not be a reason for families to be separated from their loved ones. The Less Is More Act will help end the punitive practice of re-incarcerating individuals and allow them the chance to reintegrate into their communities. As Chair of the Committee on Correction, I worked on this bill for many years and am proud that it is now law.”
Assemblymember Michaelle Solages, chairwoman of the Black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican & Asian Legislative Caucus, said: “For too long, failed parole policies have disproportionately harmed marginalized communities. Further, given the proliferation of COVID-19 in jails and prisons across the state, immediate action is needed to reduce illness and death among incarcerated New Yorkers. The caucus applauds the sponsors of this bill and Governor Kathy Hochul for signing it into law. This law will advance our state’s efforts to enhance procedural dignity, save limited taxpayer resources, and provide the reentry support people need to successfully transition back home after periods of incarceration.”
Assemblymember Latrice Walker said: “I’m pleased that many of the provisions of Less Is More will go into effect on Tuesday. Among the provisions, it will restrict the use of incarceration for technical parole violations and provide earned-time credits for parolees who don’t violate the conditions of their supervision. Far too many people in New York State— including in my district—have been sent to prison for noncriminal technical parole violations. People who have paid their debt to society need a reentry process that includes resources and support, not pipelines back to prison. That is simply a form of mass incarceration, since Black people on parole are five times more likely to be sent to prison on these technical parole violations than their white counterparts. New York has used this back-to-prison carousel more than any other state in the country. Public safety is better served by keeping technical parole violators with their families, at their jobs and connected to services.”
Senator Jabari Brisport, said; “The callous destruction to the home lives, education, and employment of New Yorkers over technical parole violations must be curbed through the full and immediate implementation of the Less Is More Act. We cannot build safe and stable communities while we are tearing families apart.”
Assemblymember Pamela Hunter said: “Imprisoning people under parole supervision for technical violations does nothing for public safety and undermines rehabilitation efforts. Reintegrating with communities and families should be the top priority and reduces the chances of recidivism. I look forward to the impact Less Is More will have as this new law comes into effect.”
Assemblymember Kenny Burgos said: “For far too long, individuals have been incarcerated for technical parole violations, which has significantly impacted Black and brown folks. With most of the provisions of the Less Is More Act now going into effect, this new law will give these folks a second chance and an opportunity to move forward with their lives. While this is a great step, it is in the best interest of New Yorkers to fully implement this law as soon as possible so we can give more people the right to due process and a chance at reentry.”
Assemblymember Demond Meeks said: “It has been a great privilege to work together with my state colleagues in passing this historic piece of legislation. For far too long, the violence of mass incarceration has torn apart Black and brown neighborhoods across this country. Hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted annually in New York on re-incarcerating disenfranchised members of our community for noncriminal technical violations. These practices have only contributed to an ongoing cycle of poverty and inequity for our residents and our families. Less Is More is our opportunity to create meaningful pathways toward reentry and begin uplifting our neighborhoods. It is essential, now more than ever, that we continue to address these systemic inequalities and deliver critical investments that will help restore our families. Collectively, we can work toward meaningful change for the members of our community and a more equitable future for New York.”
Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, said: “Last year, the legislature took a historic step to fix the broken parole system that’s damaged too many lives and contributed to the humanitarian crisis in our state’s jails. Today, the Less is More Act becomes a reality. Now we need the Governor to commit to swift and full implantation so we can help New Yorkers get back on their feet after prison. This law will refocus parole on rehabilitation, not punishment, and create a safer, fairer and more effective criminal justice system for everyone.”
Assemblymember Khaleel Anderson said: “I am proud to be a fierce advocate for the Less Is More Act because I know the game-changing impact it will have for the Black and brown families I represent and those across New York State. As we celebrate Black History Month, we must note the stark racial disparities—that Black people are five times more likely to be imprisoned for technical parole violations than their White counterparts. The Less Is More Act will help New York achieve racial justice and ensure due process by expanding access to legal representation and a speedy hearing. Countless families in my district have bright and prosperous futures ready to be unlocked with this legislation, along with long-overdue investments in affordable housing, healthy food access, mental health, and other social services. I want to thank the families, advocates, and incarcerated members of our community who have fought tirelessly to uphold principles of restoration and rehabilitation. I urge Governor Hochul to fully implement the Less Is More Act today.”
Assemblymember Zohran K. Mamdani said: “Technical parole violations, not new felony charges, account for almost half of the admittances to state prisons, making it clear how our system is built for lifelong punishment, not rehabilitation. Less Is More is a vital step toward ensuring that when our neighbors return home from prison, they can stay at home. I’m proud to have been a part of the passage of this bill and of the work my colleague and prime sponsor, Assemblymember Souffrant Forrest, put in to pass it. However, although today is the day the law is being enacted, not all provisions will take effect today. We need a full and effective implementation of Less Is More. New Yorkers are counting on it.”
Derek Singletary, cofounder and co–executive director of Unchained, said: “Today is a historic day in the struggle to overhaul New York’s punitive parole system and ensure racial justice in our communities. What the Less Is More Act does is stop individuals—who have already paid their debt to society and are working toward redemption in their communities—from being uprooted from their jobs, families, and lives for making mistakes that are not crimes. It also incentivizes them to keep working toward positive goals by creating a mechanism for people who comply with the rules to be discharged from parole early. Locking people up for having a drug addiction, missing appointments, or having innocuous police contact that does not lead to a new conviction—especially when this country disproportionately places police patrols in communities of color—never made our communities safer because those actions never put our communities in danger in the first place. Now Governor Hochul and the state legislature must ensure that the Less Is More Act is implemented fully and as intended, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to transform our state’s parole system in the spirit of the new law.”
Kenyatta Muzzanni, director of organizing at the Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice, said: “After nearly four years of work on Less Is More, it’s exciting to witness many provisions of the law into effect today. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers and their families who have been harmed by broken parole practices will instead be given the chance and support they need to succeed. This fight has been led by the people on the ground impacted by systemic racism, parole, and mass incarceration, and could not have been won without them. As we celebrate, we continue to push for the full and effective implementation of the bill, which will also bring us one step closer to closing Rikers Island for good. We thank Governor Hochul for her leadership on Less Is More and call on her administration to ensure the full and effective rollout of the law.”
Donna Hylton, founder and president of A Little Piece of Light, said: “I continue to applaud Governor Kathy Hochul for her leadership in criminal justice reform. Her swift action in signing the Less Is More Act was a step toward justice and one that will fully recognize the basic rights and human dignity of people as it goes into effect today. I am thankful that women will no longer have to suffer for small parole missteps, like being late for an appointment, as they learn how to navigate the public transit system—especially women of color who have been disproportionately impacted. I am thankful that they will finally be given the opportunity they have earned to rebuild their lives. I am also cognizant of the road that lies ahead for them. I was imprisoned at Bedford Hills for 27 years, and I am well aware that we must now help these women find housing, rejoin the workforce, reintegrate with their families and communities, and most of all, recognize their full potential.”
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams said: “In September, after months of work by advocacy groups and our office, Albany passed the Less Is More Act; since then, more than 1,000 New Yorkers have been released from prisons and jails. As more provisions go into effect today, more New Yorkers will be able to stay home and contribute to their communities instead of returning to prison for a simple technical parole violation. Keeping people incarcerated for technical parole violations is not only unjust and inhumane, it costs New York State more than $680 million each year. This is a huge step forward toward a safer New York. As always, there is still more work to do, and I hope the governor implements the bill in full by July to keep New Yorkers who are on parole out of prison.”
Jonathan Lippman, former Chief Judge of the State of New York and chair of the Rikers Commission, said: “Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Hochul and Lt. Gov. Benjamin, today marks an essential step in the advancement of public safety and better outcomes for people on parole. The Less Is More Act has already helped safely reduce the population at Rikers, and once fully implemented will do even more to serve the interest of justice in our City and State.”
Dr. Vanda Seward, former statewide director of re-entry services at the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervisions, said: “After decades of significant injustices in the community supervision system, today’s implementation of the Less Is More Act marks a step forward in reforming our criminal justice system. Thank you Governor Hochul for your leadership on this issue and to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision for making sure all staff is trained to incorporate this major reform in everyday policies and procedures. As a former New York State Department of Community Supervision executive and practitioner for over 35+ years, I am happy to see people under community supervision finally receive justice due to them. This reform removes many of the restraints and stipulations that were imposed upon them and makes parole staff have caseloads that will be more functional so that they will be able to spend more time with individuals that have high. The Less Is More Act is about helping persons under community supervision who no longer pose a threat to public safety continue on their path of building community capacity, enhancing the lives of their children and loved ones, and being a key player in the workforce. Thumbs up to all who made this historic day possible.”
Tina Luongo, attorney-in-charge of the criminal defense practice at The Legal Aid Society, said: “For decades, thousands of Black and Latinx New Yorkers were sent back to prison for technical parole violations—noncriminal matters—although they posed no risk to public safety. Their lives were upended, their families torn apart, and, during the pandemic, they faced serious risk of contracting COVID-19 in prison, all because they did not appear for an office report, missed a curfew, or tested positive for marijuana or other substances. Today is historic, but Less Is More will never live up to its promise if the Hochul administration and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision fail to fully implement every provision of the new law, especially those ensuring that parole hearings are adjudicated in public at borough courthouses, as opposed to behind closed doors in secrecy at Rikers Island. In the coming hours, days, weeks, and months, our Parole Revocation Defense Unit, which has long provided representation to thousands of New Yorkers violated on parole and helped draft this critical legislation, will monitor implementation to ensure that our clients are afforded the justice provided by this new law.”
Kendra Bradner, director of the Probation and Parole Reform Project at the Columbia University Justice Lab, said: “Today, New York continues the journey to building a more fair, more just parole system as the state moves closer to full implementation of #LessIsMoreNY. This transformative legislation is built around bold policies that have been proven effective by research and lived experience. For their effect to be fully realized, those policies must be fully put into action, and I urge the state to do so.”
The Reverend Peter Cook, executive director at New York State Council of Churches, said: “New York State Council of Churches thanks Governor Hochul for signing into law the Less Is More Act. March 1 is the date when New York stops incarcerating people for technical violations while on parole. We insist that the letter and spirit of the law be properly implemented. As people of faith, we are paying attention and expect this implementation to go smoothly. We condemn all forms of fearmongering to subvert Less Is More and remind everyone that this new law protects public safety by stopping the practice of needlessly destabilizing formerly incarcerated people because of rules which subverted their rehabilitation process and destabilized their families aiming to support them.”
Lee Winkelman, lead organizer of the New York Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-NY), said: “RAC-NY and its 150,000 members statewide thank Governor Hochul for her leadership on the Less Is More Act and call on her to fully implement the law immediately. When fully implemented, this new law will transform New York’s parole system, which has been among the worst in the country. Reform Jews throughout the state support the full implementation of Less Is More because it embodies the Jewish principle of T’shuva, that everyone can turn their life around. The Less Is More Act increases racial justice in New York’s criminal justice system, strengthens public safety, and saves the state money.”
The LWVNYC and its Committee for Criminal Justice Reform released this statement: “The League of Women Voters of the City of New York supports immediate and complete implementation of Less Is More. We applaud Governor Hochul’s leadership in criminal justice reform by signing this bill into law September 17, 2021, and now respectfully urge her administration to fully implement Less Is More in March 2022. The LWVNYC commends the provisions of the law—restricting the use of incarceration for technical violations, bolstering due process, providing speedy hearings, and incentivizing parole condition compliance with earned-time credits—as necessary reforms. We believe these provisions will, in fact, make communities safer by not disrupting the reentry process of people released from prison. Successful reentry is dependent on support in housing, health care, and employment opportunities, not fear of re-incarceration for arbitrary and unjust technical parole violations. Again we thank the governor for her leadership in criminal justice reform in New York State.”
Mr. Five Mualimm-ak, founder of the Youth Anti-Prison Project, said: “As the founder of the Youth Anti-Prison Project serving NYC justice-impacted young adults, our organization calls for the full and effective implementation of the Less Is More Act. We serve thousands of NYC youth, some of whom have returned to prison for being shot themselves by stray bullets, being late for a curfew when their train is late after leaving college for the day—or even worse, finding employment but it’s overnight and not allowed. We stand alongside every district Attorney in the city saying recidivism should not be an automatic byproduct of reentry: Young adults’ success in New York State starts with a home, not a prison or jail cell.”
Craig P. Schlanger, supervising parole attorney for the Hiscock Legal Aid Society, said: “March 1, 2022, marks the beginning of a new era in community supervision in the state of New York, providing positive incentives for compliance, sanctions that are in proportion to the seriousness of the violation, and due process to the accused. We hope that the governor, the legislature, and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision act together to ensure full implementation of Less Is More in keeping with the spirit, as well as the letter, of the legislation.”
Amy Dorin, the president and CEO of The Coalition for Behavioral Health, said: “Far too often, individuals with mental health and substance use challenges experience criminalization rather than health care. The Less Is More Act will reduce the incarceration of these individuals and increase their ability to seek mental health and substance use care in the community by keeping people from being incarcerated for technical parole violations. This legislation must be implemented fully to allow people the freedom to rejoin their communities.”
Kenneth Edwards, manager of leadership & organizing at the Center for Employment Opportunities, said: “CEO recognizes that today is a very important day for us as an organization, for the coalition and for all those who supported the passage of this bill. Most provisions of the Less Is More Act take effect today, giving individuals the autonomy that they deserve as they return to their communities and rebuild. We stand ready as an organization to continue supporting the coalition and the individuals that are directly impacted by this passage as they continue their journey towards re-entry.”
Dina Alawneh, assistant public defender, and Arline Hanna, second assistant public defender, at the Wayne County Public Defender’s Office, said: “The Wayne County Public Defender’s Office is celebrating the March 1st implementation date of the Less Is More: Community Supervision Revocation Reform Act. New York’s parole system will take a huge step toward aligning with the overwhelming evidence that aggressively incarcerating people on technical violations provides no public safety benefit whatsoever; it only impedes reintegration and wastes hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. We are proud to have been part of the campaign that passed the most transformative parole reform thus far. Less Is More is crucial to our mission of advocating for a fairer criminal justice system. It will bolster our parole clients’ due process rights and ensure that they will not be automatically detained for what often would be months, based on mere allegations of a violation. We strongly urge Governor Hochul and the state legislature to ensure that Less Is More’s provisions are fully implemented as soon as possible and that they are implemented with integrity.”
Keli Young, civil rights campaign coordinator at VOCAL-NY, said: “Less Is More NY is a critical step toward ending the perpetual punishment that comes with contact with the criminal legal system. Formerly incarcerated New Yorkers must have a true opportunity to thrive when they return home. Too many of our members are caught in a seemingly endless cycle of incarceration through inhumane technical violation laws. Governor Hochul has the power and responsibility to stop this by implementing the bill in full.”
Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah said: “Congregation Beit Simchat Torah believes in the ability of every human being to pursue a path of teshuva, the Jewish concept of restoring one’s relationship to the community and to one’s self, and we support New Yorkers’ efforts to build better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities following incarceration. We call for the full and effective implementation of #LessIsMoreNY, which will help to create a more just New York by eliminating reincarceration for most technical parole violations.”
Jared Trujillo, policy counsel at the New York Civil Liberties Union, said: “We applaud Governor Hochul for listening to people on parole, their families, and those experiencing the humanitarian crisis in New York prisons and jails by signing the Less Is More Act into law shortly after taking office. This critical legislation will stop New York from incarcerating people for most technical parole violations; it limits sanctions for others; it ends the practice of automatic incarceration before parole violations hearings; and it affords people accused of violation parole their right to a speedy hearing before a judge without delay. It is imperative that those on parole benefit from all provisions of this act as quickly as possible. We urge the governor to immediately implement time recalculations and fully implement the earned-time credits, which will reduce time on parole for those who have successfully complied.”
Amplifying Activists Together released a statement that said: “Amplifying Activists Together knows that New York State and New York City are strongest when our neighbors are at home with their families and in their communities. We can not afford the spiritual, emotional, and financial price our state’s criminal injustice system has extracted by incarcerating New Yorkers for noncriminal violations of their parole agreement, and we have been heartened by the release of more than 1,000 people since the signing of the Less Is More Act in September 2021. We call on Governor Kathy Hochul to fully and effectively implement all Less Is More provisions immediately so that New York can live up to the promise made by enacting this legislation. As a group of artists and activists, we know that the only path forward out of the pandemic is a New York that is safe and healthy for all New Yorkers, and we will continue to work for a New York that has rid itself of its prison industry and its abuses; we ask our governor to do the same.”
Alisha Kohn, director of the Queer Justice Committee at The Newburgh LGBTQAI+ Center, said: “The Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center strongly supports and urges the governor to fully and effectively implement the Less Is More Community Supervision Revocation Reform Act. As a BIPOC-led LGBTQ+ center that is dedicated to being an anti-racist resource to the LGBTQ+ community in the Hudson Valley, we support community members who are or have been incarcerated. It is important that our community is safe, which means that it is free of discrimination and that our community members have the safety to find housing and a stable income. This act will allow our community members to successfully transition from prison to the community and stop racist laws that harm our community members.”
Kandra Clark, vice president of policy and strategy for the Exodus Transitional Community, said: “Exodus Transitional Community (Exodus) is a preventive, reentry and advocacy organization with 15 locations city/statewide, including 6 reentry hotels, offices on Rikers Island, and 2 offices in the Hudson Valley region. We are a justice-led and -operated organization, with 275 staff,80 percent of whom are directly impacted by incarceration. We are calling for the full and effective implementation of Less Is More. Too many of our brothers, sisters, parents, and children have been re-incarcerated for noncriminal violations; families have been torn apart and people have become unemployed. New Yorkers have even lost housing over noncriminal technical parole violations. Less Is More is smart legislation that helps keep our communities safe while saving taxpayers millions.”
Kevin Perez, organizer with the New York City Brown Berets, said: “The Less Is More Act is a breath of fresh air for hundreds of New Yorkers who have been suffering from the effects of mass incarceration. Overpolicing does not keep communities safe—if it did we’d be one of the safest cities in the world. Public safety can only be achieved when we increase the resources available for underserved communities and when we transition from being a system focused on punishment to one focused on rehabilitation. We ask that Governor Hochul ensures that #LessIsMoreNY is implemented fully and effectively.”
Anthony Maund, member of the Katal Center, said: “After years of working on and supporting the #LessIsMoreNY campaign, I am very pleased that most provisions of the legislation go into effect today! The fight to get Less Is More to the finish line has been a very personal one. In 2018, I was incarcerated for a noncriminal technical parole violation for simply visiting my family. When I got this violation, I was arrested within 12 hours of my release. I was immediately taken to jail and my parole officer advised me to not take my case to a final hearing because I would ‘lose anyway.’ After a little over a month, I was granted my first hearing, which was held in a county jail behind closed doors. Under Less Is More, people on parole will finally be given the opportunity to have their hearing out in the community, which improves accountability and transparency. This is much needed in a system that is constantly abusing its power. I thank the governor for her constant support of #LessIsMoreNY, and urge that she implement the legislation fully and effectively!”
Carlos Aguilera, member of the Katal Center, said: “It has been a true honor to work on a campaign like #LessIsMoreNY that prioritizes the needs of those who are on parole and their families. I have been on parole for the past six years and it has been an incredibly difficult experience. It has made my reentry process much harder because it has hindered my ability to expand my construction business outside of New York and it has put a strain on my relationships with family and friends. After years, today is finally the day that most provisions of this legislation go into effect. However, there has already been misinformation being put forward by parole officers about the legislation. Many of my peers and I have been told by our parole officer that #LessIsMoreNY does not apply to us because we are on the registry, specifically the earned-time credits piece. This is unacceptable. I am glad that Governor Hochul has championed this legislation, but she needs to ensure that #LessIsMoreNY is fully implemented and that DOCCS is abiding by the law!”
Jill Paperno, Acting Monroe County Public Defender, said: “Less Is More is a completely different approach to community supervision. Instead of tearing those under community supervision from their families, their jobs, their schools, and their programs for minor violations, people under supervision will receive support and an opportunity to continue building their lives. We strongly support Less Is More.”
Henry Robinson, member of the Katal Center, said: “When the Governor signed the bill back in September 2021, we immediately saw the positive impact of #LessIsMoreNY. Many individuals who were being held at Rikers Island for a noncriminal technical parole violation at Rikers Island were released. This act alone saved their lives. The conditions at Rikers have gotten so dire with 16 people passing away in the past year alone. I have done time at Rikers and can speak to the horrific conditions found there. While I was there I received no medical attention for a fractured foot and never felt safe. This industrial jail complex is not suited for any human being. I am incredibly happy that most of the provisions on #LessIsMoreNY go into effect today and it will reduce the number of people that are sent to Rikers. However, until the legislation is fully implemented and DOCCS abides by the law we won’t see the full impact. I implore governor Hochul to ensure the swift and full implementation of Less is More.”
Serena Martin-Liguori, Executive Director of New Hour for Women & Children LI, said: “New Hour continues to support women and mothers facing the overwhelming challenges of parole. We applaud the #LessIsMoreNY law coming into effect today, March 1st. The passage of this critical legislation ensures mothers and women in our communities are successfully able to reenter and stabilize after incarceration, giving back to their families and their communities.”
Caroline Hensen, Social Justice Coordinator from Long Island Social Justice Action Network (LISJAN), said: “The Long Island Social Justice Action Network is dedicated to advancing criminal and social justice reform for Long Island and throughout the state. For far too long, Black and brown Long Islanders have been disproportionately incarcerated for noncriminal technical parole violations. We know that Long Islanders are deeply impacted by carceral issues and we applaud the implementation of #LessIsMoreNY.”
About the #LessIsMoreNY Campaign
#LessIsMoreNY is a statewide coalition of community groups, service providers, and public safety experts who worked together to develop and pass the #LessIsMoreNY Act. Restricting the use of incarceration for technical parole violations and giving people incentives to comply with parole conditions will support them as they reenter their communities; reduce jail, prison, and supervision populations responsibly; promote safety and justice for families and communities; and save taxpayers money. The coalition is working to implement the new law fully and effectively. The #LessIsMoreNY campaign is led by the Katal Center, Unchained, and A Little Piece of Light. For more information visit www.lessismoreny.org.